Monday, November 29, 2010

Hawaii, Remembered Right

I recently returned home from one of my favorite travel destinations: The Hawaiian Islands, in this case, Hawaii, aka the Big Island. As always, it was a delight to be there and now it is a delight to remember.

I'll be posting some thoughts and accounts of my travel to the Big Island 'ere long, encompassing the island's sights, mountain coffee plantations, restaurants, postcard-pretty drives and the gorgeous Fairmont Hotel, where my wife and I stayed.

Until then, here is something to share: Mark Twain's prose-poem about the Islands. This memory was composed in a rush of rapture by Twain, aka Samuel Langhorne Clemens, who visited Hawaii just once, in 1866, only to languish off-shore on his only return voyage, prevented from making landfall by a cholera epidemic in Honolulu.

Here is a passage from Twain, just for the sheer beauty of it:

"No alien land in all the world has any deep, strong charm for me but that one, no other land could so longingly and so beseechingly haunt me, sleeping and waking, through half a lifetime, as that one has done. Other things leave me, but it abides; other things change, but it remains the same. For me its balmy airs are always blowing, its summer seas flashing in the sun; the pulsing of the surfbeat is in my ear, I can see its garlanded crags, its leaping cascades, its plumy palms drowsing by the shore, its remote summits floating like islands above the cloud wrack; I can feel the spirit of its woodland solitudes, I can hear the splash of its brooks; in my nostrils still lives the breath of flowers that perished 20 years ago.''

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